“Oh to be young and….” Little Rock Trip 2011.

Driving to Arkansas, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I had found an inexpensive vacation and I was going with my hubby, so I was a happy girl. I definitely had no idea how smitten I would be with Little Rock and surrounding areas. Of course, I must admit I am like this almost everywhere I go. This world is fascinating and magical, which in turn makes me constantly wide-eyed and amazed. That being said, it was hard to condense my love for Arkansas into just one blog. But I tried. Here’s cliff-notes of my favorite moments/things/etc/ :

  • I have to mention my wonderful husband first. Robby’s from a small town and maybe this is how he’s maintained his childlike wonder that I can never get enough of. We’d be driving and he’d point out something random, like a lake, and say “Baby,how cool the water looks!” Or we’d be cruising through some small Texas town named after something European and he’d happily pronounce, “Look babe, We’re in Italy!”  He’s always cheerful. Never grumpy or complaining. Always pointing out little things I’d so easily miss without his attentive eye and boyish spirit by my side. We spent hours upon hours driving, and spent the majority of the time teasing the other, sharing stories and cracking up laughing. Once we arrived in Arkansas, we’d wake up super early, both excited to explore our new surroundings and enjoy each other’s company. We’d stroll through downtown Little Rock pointing and giggly and hand in hand. He makes the absolute perfect traveling companion and his attitude always reminds me to see the beauty in every little part of life.
  • Baker’s House Bed and Breakfast. The perfect reviews did not fail me. Husband and I have never stayed at a B&B and weren’t exactly sure what to expect. I can’t say enough good about Baker’s House. The breakfast was delightful (I don’t like pancakes but the banana pancakes were heavenly) , the staff was friendly and accommodating, the bathroom and room were old-timey and made for a king (or queen) and the entire house was spacious, comforting and had a sense of regality about it. I think hubby and I both felt like kids residing in these gorgeous accommodations, or ‘sneaking’ to the guest’s pantry for an after hours snack. I kind of felt like a seven year old playing pretend in a castle. Except I’m 22, it wasn’t pretend and I basically was in a castle.

  • The Old Mill. Something I loved about Arkansas is how breathtaking so many of it’s historical and scenic places are. Cool factoid? Part of the movie Gone with the Wind was taped here! Upon walking through the gate, my breath really was taken away. Definitely among the most beautiful of places I’ve ever seen. Lookit:
  • Big Dam Bridge. It it most definitely a big damn bridge. To be super specific, it’s the longest bridge in the United States that was built for pedestrian traffic.

  • The Trolley. Our Bed and Breakfast gave us free tickets to ride for a day, and this was such a neat experience. The driver also acted as a tour guide, and we got to know Little Rock much better, while also enjoying all of the beautiful scenery and old monuments.  Did you know there is a North/South Little Rock, separated only by a bridge? Hubby informed me they even have two different mayors. We stayed in North Little Rock, which has a small town vibe. South Little Rock is kind of like downtown Austin, but much tinier and older. Exploring the whole of this city made me realize that Arkansas is much like a hidden gem. It’s not the most touristy of states but Little Rock is hands down one of my favorite cities now. It’s quaint and friendly and beautiful in it’s simplicity. Yet another reason I want to explore the whole entire world. Who knows what I’d be missing if I didn’t visit all of the nooks and crannies of this universe.
  • River Market District. In South Little Rock,an area full of cool/cute shops and adventures. My favorite was probably the H.U. Lee International Gate and Garden. Named after the Eternal Grand Master (husband just loved that bit and now wants to be called the Eternal Grand Master), this project shows friendship between the U.S. and South Korea (I did my research! Be proud!) The gate (pictured below) weighs 80 tons and the garden area is absolutely stunning. Lee’s reason for building all of this in Arkansas, of all places? The scenery and beauty of the state reminded him of South Korea. How neat is that?

  • The Peabody Ducks. You’ve maybe heard of these ducks of the Peabody Hotel? They walk down a red carpet at 11am every morning to their fountain and then again at 5pm to return to their palace in the hotel? As soon as I read about this, I knew I had to see it. These duckies stole my heart. They even stop on their red carpet to pose for pictures! Maybe for Christmas I’ll ask for a trained duck.

  • The peeps. I met some awesome folks in Little Rock. To be fair, I seem to meet awesome people everywhere I go, but this was no exception. It was neat eating breakfast with strangers, getting to know them over pancakes and coffee.  We met people from Spain, Australia and the UK as well as local Arkansans.  On our last night out, hubby and I went to our first ever dueling piano’s bar. There weren’t many out on a weekday night, and we ended up winning a ‘name that tune’ contest and giggling with the small crowd and the pianists. Have I mentioned lately how much I love people? At one point, we even ran into one couple lodging at Baker’s House at a nearby bar, and started chit-chatting and chuckling with them and their friends. On the way out, we heard one of the ladies sigh, “Oh to be young and…” That’s the only part we caught but the message was captured and we both laughed. Husband and I are giddy, youthful, obvious lovebirds.
  • Larry’s Pizza Buffet. The coolest and most delicious buffet I’ve ever been to. When I walked in, I was sad to see almost no pizza out on the ‘buffet’ table. I sat down just a bit disappointed, considering the reviews for this place were phenomenal. I quickly cheered up as I realized that every couple minutes or so, an employee walks up, pizza in hand, asking customers if they’d like to try this or that particular slice. I ended up with a honey mustard pizza, some kind of fettuccine-chicken tasting pizza, AND my new absolute favorite in the entire world, chocolate chip peanut butter pizza. YUM. If you’re ever in Arkansas, you must go to Larry’s.
  • The Union Bistro. Husband gets amazing coupons through his work and for this particular restaurant we spent 4.50 to get a 25 dollar gift certificate. Robby got a steak. Wanna know what I got? A pork-ham-bacon-cheese-egg-hamburger. It was divine but I only managed a few bites before I felt I may explode. These are the rare moments where I wish I could go back to my pre-dieting days. My body can’t handle junk food like it used to. Not even delicious entrees like pork-ham-cheese-egg-hamburgers. Boo.
  • Hot Springs. On the way out, we stopped by this town for lunch and to find,well, a hot spring. Goodness, what an absolutely gorgeous town. I want to retire someplace just like this. Someplace with superb food (From the 1217 Cafe: pork chops stuffed with dirty rice, and green beans with mushroom and feta cheese. YUM!), old-fashioned buildings, lovely mountains AND places to take hot, natural, steaming baths. I feel that when I’m old, bath-houses will be a must for me.
  • There’s more I’m not mentioning much; Museums, state houses, wonderful coffee shops, fire-stations turned into libraries, scenic drives, more yummy food….I could go on all day. Did you have any idea Arkansas was so lovely/adorable/magnificent/quaint/spectacular? I didn’t either! I honestly feel as if I’ve found a hidden treasure. And, as life and exploring this world seems to be full of these, I can’t wait to find billions more.
  • Ps: I can’t end this blog without mentioning my friend Katie. I usually might, but I’m really trying to become more appreciative of all the things others do for me. She came to my house twice a day for three days to feed and water my doggies while I was gone.  I didn’t have much money to give, but she quickly accepted when I asked her, knowing she’d be getting next to nothing in return.  She even stayed over once for hours, playing with my pups and doing her homework.  Sweet moments  from awesome people like this are a common occurrence in my life, but I don’t give enough recognition where recognition is due. Well, let me just say it. My friends are truly the bees knees. 

Our Anniversary.

Monday was my and hubby’s two year wedding anniversary. In just a few days, we road-trip to vacation at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in Little Rock. I’m pretty excited. For the actual day of our anniversary, hubby and I planned on a quiet celebration but instead ended up having a few mini-celebrations.  It was a perfect mix of relaxing, surprising, fun, yummy and sexy. But mostly fun. We have a lot of that together, since we double as best friends and all. Here’s a timeline of the day we spent commemorating our 730 days of marriage:

9:00 am: 

I recently found a job on SitterCity, nannying for a few hours in the mornings on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.  This past Friday, I received a text from my little one’s mommy asking what day my anniversary was, but didn’t think much of it. I arrived Monday morning to find a card with my name on it and a nice bottle of wine that I’ve always been too cheap to buy myself. I really seem to luck out with those who hire me. And with those in my life in general. Me=Spoiled/Blessed.

11 am:

I received a text from hubby asking me what time I worked until. When I told him noon and asked why he wanted to know, he replied in Robby-fashion, “Gotta send my mistress home.” I knew this meant I’d probably have a surprise waiting when I got home. And not one that I’d have to kill.

12:30 pm (Surprises!) :

On the front of the card that read, “My partner, My friend”  He scribbled, “My wife” underneath. I thought he did it just to be extra cute, but he actually did so for clarification purposes. He said the card was perfect for us (he’s big on finding the card that perfectly describes the words he would use if he was more poetically inclined), but that he thought it may have originally been targeted towards homosexual couples. His thought processes often amuse me.

2:00 pm

Double Daves. Mmmm. Since I’ve been dieting on the weekdays, I’ve found a whole new appreciation for food when I give myself a day off.  It’s very similar to when I went out of state with a friend for over a week this past summer and then came back home to my husband. Withholding seems to make many things so much better when you finally get it. Ya know what I’m sayin’?

3:00-7:00 pm

In between some homework and housework, we also added some cuddles,bantering over our two years of marital bliss and searching for the perfect restaurant to eat at for the night. I sat in Robby’s lap as we pondered, debated and laughed trying to find the perfect place from his computer. Husband stated somewhere around the middle of our search, “This is fun.”  And it was.

7:30 pm

I gave husband my gift to him, a picture/video timeline of our relationship together, starting from the day we met. I’ve made little timelines before, but because of my lack of patience they always come out half put-together and crappy looking. This one was different. I was patient. I took time picking out just the right pictures. I yelled at my computer but eventually came to peace with it. I used our wedding song as background music and got emotional numerous times while making it. This boy and our life together is something I adore a whole bunch, and I just wanted to make something that properly expressed that. Husband knows how much I suck at taking time on things, so he was pleasantly surprised and happy with his gift. He got a little emotional too, I think. I even made friends on facebook tear up. Yay for Christina learning the value of patience!

8:00 pm

We decided on a little sushi place by our house called Tokai. It was our first time trying it out, and Robby had a coupon through his work for $25 dollars off, so we got to splurge a little. Cute place, sweet staff and delicious sushi. Oh. And a hot man whom I like a lot sitting across from me. This is always a plus.

All in all, it was a wonderfully romantic and playful two year anniversary, and there isn’t any other dude that would be better to share it with. I may even keep this one for another two years. (Ha.)

Ps: LITTLE ROCK ON MONDAY! Don’t worry, I will bring lots of pictures back. Because I know you were worried.